Feb 05, 2013


Williamson County Class Will Deliver Powerful Messages to Tragedy-Stricken Nation with Help from Local Franklin Organizations
Students Launch YouCanHaveHope.org

Photo caption: from left to right, Columbia State Williamson County students David Adkins (Franklin), Adam Zink (Franklin), Kodi Temes (Fairview), Trey Adcox (Franklin) and Jerrod Guthrie (Franklin) are part of the Argumentation and Debate Class raising money for the Hands and Feet Project's Haiti relief and rebuilding efforts. For more information on what the students are doing to raise money, visit YouCanHaveHope.org.

Around this time every year, Daniel Johnson's Argumentation and Debate class at the Williamson County Campus of Columbia State seeks to do something special - something a little above and beyond what you might expect. Johnson challenges his students to "Change The World," and while the task might seem a little daunting at first, a step-by-step process helps his students realize that their efforts can go a long way towards helping those in need, as well as provide them an avenue to learn about the world outside Williamson County.

In the past, Johnson's students have contributed to Tsunami relief efforts, helped victims of the Fairview Tornadoes, set up recycling efforts around the Williamson County Campus, sent much-needed care packages to U.S. troops overseas and more. But this year is different. Students have partnered with Franklin Tomorrow - a non-profit community organization that communicates a shared and evolving vision for the future of Franklin - with the hopes of furthering the educational experience of Williamson County students by drawing a connection between the City of Franklin, and the ongoing relief efforts in Haiti.

The recent marriage has resulted in a connection with the Hands and Feet Project, a Franklin-based organization that supports a children's village in Jacmel, Haiti that was started by the band Audio Adrenaline in 2004.

"Part of the mission statement of the Hands and Feet Project was to get people from places like Franklin and Williamson County involved in reaching out to places like Haiti. The efforts by Columbia State Williamson County students and Franklin Tomorrow will provide turnkey opportunities for everyone in the community to participate and help," said Bob Herdman, interim director of the Hands and Feet Project.

"With the help of Franklin Tomorrow, as well as the support of the Columbia State staff, our class plans to raise money for the Hands and Feet Project's Earthquake Relief Efforts in Haiti," said Johnson, assistant professor of communications at Columbia State's Williamson County Campus. "Students in my argumentation and debate class are currently working through the process of coming up with powerful messages that can be sent tangibly to those in Haiti. They will be working with Franklin Tomorrow - as well as the Marketing and Public Relations office here at Columbia State - on developing a business plan to raise funds, then donate them to the Hands and Feet Project here in Franklin. Their first key step has been raising awareness about their project by launching the website YouCanHaveHope.org."

"The fact that this initiative by Columbia State Franklin students not only helps disaster relief in Haiti, but also supports a 501(c)3 non-profit organization right here in our own backyard is wonderful," said Natalie Dodd, executive director of Franklin Tomorrow. "This is a best of both worlds scenario, and I'm really looking forward to working with the students to help drum up as much support and awareness possible for their powerful project, as Franklin Tomorrow's goal for this project is to support Columbia State in becoming a great educational leader in Williamson County and help positively impact that lives of the students in our community. Keep your eyes open around the City of Franklin for these Columbia State students, and be encouraged to support their efforts!"

For more information on Columbia State Williamson County Students "Change the World" project, please visit http://youcanhavehope.org, call Daniel Johnson at 615-790-5987 or email djohnson74@columbiastate.edu. More information on the Hands and Feet Project can be found at http://handsandfeetproject.org.